The ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro, performed at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre on Wednesday, June 24. Although I've been a longtime fan of his music, this was the first time that I've ever seen him perform live. The passion and charismatic presence that I've always imagined that he would bring to stage truly resonated during his performance. His concert became one of the most incredible performances that I've seen yet.
Jake is an amazing musician from Hawaii. He's been playing the ukulele and performing live music with his band from a young age. Though he and his band had their share of success, it wasn't until the mid-2000's, when a video of Jake playing "Ukulele Weeps" went viral, that he really gained the public's attention. Since then, he's been recognized internationally as an incredibly gifted musician and performer. The members of the audience at his Chicago show were able to witness his extraordinary performance firsthand.
Though Jake's performances always carry a certain charm, his Chicago show was special because of the uniqueness of the concert. While Jake usually performs alone, his concert at Auditorium Theatre was accompanied by Chicago's City Lights Orchestra.
At the concert, Jake and the orchestra performed both original and cover songs from Jake's albums. The songs that they performed spanned different cultures, time periods, and genres. This certainly demonstrated his versatility as a musician. For me, two of the most memorable moments from the concert was when he performed the traditional Japanese song "Sakura Sakura" and the American rock classic "Bohemian Rhapsody", the latter being a crowd favorite.
Before Jake stopped by our city for his concert, I got to speak with him for an episode of Halfstack Highlights. In the interview, he spoke about what music meant to him as well as his experience with touring and performing. We were also able to talk about some of his musical influences and what it's like for him to challenge himself by playing songs that are not conventionally played on the ukulele. (For the full interview, you can click on the player below)
Check out the our full interview with Jake Shimabukuro on our podcast below. If you want to hear more music by Jake, you can listen to his music on Spotify, Youtube, or purchase his CDs online! If you want to know more about him, you can also check out his documentary called "Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings" on Netflix!